Category Archives: Interviews

Creative Feature: Abi Burlingham

This week I’m bringing you another artistic writer, what a choice, words and pictures!

Abi is the author of several children’s books and when she’s not filling notebooks with words, she’s painting and creating works of art instead. I relate so easily to Abi, as much of my time is spent the same way! 

Abi Burlingham – Author and Artist

What inspires you?

Nature and poignancy for themes, colour and shape for appearance. I love the natural curves of nature and the diversity of colour. I really love being outside amongst trees, meadows, moors and I love creatures of all shapes and sizes. I find nature very inspiring and want to create something that the viewer feels a connection with, which is why an animal or person often feature in my paintings. Artists that have inspired me are Paul Cezanne, Gustav Klimt and Gaugin – I love their use of colour and shape and themes.

Live Abi Burlingham

Live – Abi Burlingham

Is your art planned or spontaneous?

I usually get an image in my head – it pops up without any conscious thought. Sometimes I store it in there and when I have two or three I draw them on tiny sheets of paper – about 3 x 4 inches – just in biro. They take seconds to do and are the only planning I do. Drawing the picture on canvas usually takes around 10 – 15 mins – I am a fast drawer! The painting and re-painting, as I make changes along the way, take a lot longer and I feel it as I go along, so yes, I would say my art is far more spontaneous than planned.

Matlock Abi Burlingham

Matlock (pen and ink) – Abi Burlingham

I can see you like bold colours and I’ve seen you use pencils and acrylics, but do you have a favourite medium, colours or techniques?

As a child and teenager, I loved using pencils. I still have my box of Caran D’Ache pencils. I now also use Derwent Inktense pencils which are really distinct colours and you can add water to them which increases the intensity. I love doing sketches in situ with these and a black pen. For larger pieces that are completely from my imagination, I love acrylics. They are so bold and bright and you can build them up and get a range of textures. I think they suit the bold, abstract nature of my paintings more than any other medium.

Ivy Leaves - Abi Burlingham

Ivy Leaves – Abi Burlingham

What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

Ooh that’s a hard one. I think my personal favourite is the big ivy canvas I painted five years ago and have hanging in my hallway. It was a labour of love and took every day for six weeks to complete. I also love ‘The Walk’. I barely thought about the painting as I was doing it – it seemed to create itself and I was so pleased with the end result.

Grub's Pups Abi Burlingham

Grubs Pups – Abi Burlingham

You have several published children’s books, have you ever thought about illustrating them yourself? What are your future plans with your art?

I have! I really would love to one day. I have illustrated a book which I couldn’t find a publisher for and still have all the paintings for this. Maybe I’ll give it another shot one day. I need a fantastic concept that also fits in with my style and the themes of nature and animals. I am currently arranging for a limited amount of prints of my acrylic canvases and plan to sell these and the originals – I already have a buyer for ‘The Walk’ which is wonderful.

Leaf Fall - Abi Burlingham

Leaf Fall – Abi Burlingham

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

It would be a painting. I love sculpture too, but I am drawn to huge canvases more than anything. A really huge abstract canvas of trees and birds would be wonderful.

Tree from Website - Abi Burlingham

Tree from Abi’s website (you can all four seasons of trees on her website!)

Cloud Gazing - Abi Burlingham

Cloud Gazing – Abi Burlingham

Thanks Abi!
Check out Abi’s website abiburlingham.com and keep up to date with her projects and the future availability of prints. Take a look at her books which are available on Amazon. She also blogs on her website and you can like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, she’ll be happy to see you there!

Abi’s Bio

Buttercup Magic Abi Burlingham

A Mystery for Megan – Abi Burlingham

Abi Burlingham lives in Derbyshire and teaches English to adults. She has had six children’s books published, including the Ruby and Grub series and Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan. She likes to walk through fields with her rescue greyhound, paint, write and eat cheesecake. She would quite like to do all of these at once and is still trying to work out how.

Creative Feature: Alyson Fennell Photography

Photography is a passion of mine, especially nature and flowers, so this week’s Creative Feature brings you nature in close-up form!

Dandelion Diamonds - Alyson Fennell Photography

Dandelion Diamonds – Alyson Fennell

Alyson Fennell is an amazing photographer and her close-up pictures of flowers have totally captivated me over the last year or two. My own flower pictures are mobile phone snapped, fun and generally instagrammed, but Alyson’s are magical! Take a look at her Royal Crescent photograph and you’ll see where the magic resides, and you’ll understand why the Royal Crescent Hotel snapped up the pictures for their Christmas cards. Be entranced by Alyson Fennell.

Alyson Fennell

Alyson Fennell – Photographer

Alyson Fennell – Photographer

What inspires you?

I’m inspired primarily by Mother Nature, the greatest artist of all! What amazes me is that I can find beauty anywhere from the wild slopes of Dartmoor, to a humble window box in a city centre. Flowers and leaves always beckon, no matter the environment or season.

You frequent some beautiful gardens, do you plan your photography or is it spontaneous?

I find that if I plan too rigidly, and if I try too hard, the magic sometimes disappears. Indeed, some of my best shots have been spontaneous ones. The key is to be sensitive to those moments, when I feel the flowers are calling out to me,

Do you have favourite colours, flowers or techniques? Do you prefer close-up flowers or landscapes?

I gravitate towards flowers, without question. They are such ethereal beings. That said, in my search for some of the more elusive ones, a stunning landscape will appear and I can’t help but swing into action with my camera!

The exquisite ‘The Royal Crescent’ and ‘Dandelion Diamonds’ are two of my favourite works of yours. What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

My favourite pieces tend to change quite often, but the red tulip series is always in my top 10. I am also very pleased with the clematis image on the homepage of my website, among others.

I love the diversity in your pictures from triptychs to landscapes to mirror images and even the occasional famous face. What are your future plans with your photography?

I hope my work will touch people around the World, whether it be in galleries, in advertisements, in hotels or at art fairs. One of my goals is to be able to travel far and wide with my photography – especially to the Valley Of Flowers in the Himalayas.

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

You did say money would be no object!! I’d commission an architect to design a beautiful home for me in the South West. I lived in Totnes for some time, and it is such an inspiring part of our lovely island.

A lovely insight to your inspiration and process, thank you Alyson! You can find Alyson and her exquisite photography at her website www.alysonfennellphotography.com. You can like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @AlyFennPhoto.

Alyson’s Bio:

Hi, my name is Alyson Fennell and I’m a Fine Art Photographer based in Bath. I began my career as a hair and make-up artist in London, working alongside some of the most celebrated international photographers. Having gained invaluable knowledge and experience in this environment, I have returned to my original passion for photography, combining a love of nature with fine art.

I have recently exhibited my work at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath.

To stock my greetings cards or prints, email alyson@alysonfennellphotography.com

* Please do not use or copy any of these photographs without permission from Alyson Fennell.

Creative Feature: Paul Ramey

My fourth Creative Feature involves two of my favourite pastimes: writing and art!

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Last year, Paul Ramey’s book ‘Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire’ enthralled me. Wonderful imagery amidst an intriguing storyline drew me right into a mystery that Edgar Wilde, a teenage top-hat wearing misfit, stumbles into whilst taking amateur tours around his local cemetery. You’ll have to read the book to find out more…no really, you should! Let me introduce you to an author who does much more than write!

Paul Ramey

Paul Ramey – Writer, Graphic Artist and Musician

Paul Ramey – Writer, Graphic Artist and Musician

What inspires you, and what brought about your interest in graveyards?

I have always been thoroughly fascinated with lost or forgotten history. Capturing the mystery of times, places, and people that recorded history has lost track of is definitely what led me down the path toward writing my young-adult historical mystery, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire. Also, I tend toward “Goth/Victorian” aesthetics, and the stories and characters draw tremendously from that.

As far as graveyards – aren’t they just the most fascinating places? I remember when I was 15 and exploring the hills of Eastern Kentucky where my dad’s side of the family has a little nook up in the hills called Ramey Branch. And up near the top of one of those hills I stumbled onto a few small, forgotten graves. And one of them, I later discovered, turned out to be my great-great grandmother, and her name was America. America Ramey. Can you believe that? I’d never even heard of her before. And every family has markers of their past, their history, scattered like breadcrumbs as they’ve made their incredible journeys across continents and through time.

On another level, if you’re an artist then the beautiful iconography, calligraphy, materials, and styles are endlessly fascinating and addicting. Many of these places are truly national treasures – outside museums with their own stories and ambience. And even the saddest, neglected cemetery still holds so many stories and opportunities for discovery, and for restoration. One of my most important goals for the Edgar Wilde books has been to educate and inform young adults as to the importance and wonder of cemeteries, by trying to weave some mysteries through the stones.

You’ve used your graphic design skills to produce a great book cover for ‘Edgar Wilde’ and I’m familiar with your pen and ink drawings. How does your art fit and complement your writing?

My artist “inner eye” is vital to writing. I’ve mentioned it before, that the cover of Edgar Wilde was one of the first things that showed up, and I often kept a printed draft of it near where I was writing, helping me to imagine more clearly a book that didn’t yet exist. The auditory aspect of writing is certainly important – the cadence, the rhythm of the text – but a lot of my style is ultimately visual conceptualization and I think a lot in terms of colors, textures, and shadows and light. And to be honest, I always thought of my novel as a potential screenplay anyway, for an eventual Edgar Wilde motion picture! I mean, if J.K. Rowling can do it, right? So again, very visual.

Edgar Wilde Concept Art Paul Ramey

Concept art for Edgar Wilde: Chapter 2, Chapter 17, Corinthian, and Edgar and Shelby (left to right, top to bottom) – Paul Ramey

You have wide-ranging talents encompassing writing, music and art. Do you have a favourite creative ability, favourite colours and techniques?

Growing up, I dreamed of being a comic book writer and artist, and I still enjoy exploring the comic book styles of art. But my detailed pen-and-ink “stipple” work is the closest thing I have to an artistic craft. I’m very proud of it – these days many people who see it think it’s the result of some sort of computer program, but it’s really me, doing hours of dot-dot-dot with a pen! It’s a very zen, meditative process, and I love that place within me.

I have to also mention another source of creative pride, and that is my ability as a music composer and lyricist. I’ve been told I have a wonderful sense of wordplay and craft, and it’s exciting to be able to explore that kind of music-driven poetry and storytelling – more of a focus on essence, and intuitive partnering with the instruments, the harmonies, and tones. In 2009 I finished work on a goth/rock opera called Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan, which was a three-year endeavor. The final, published Veil & Subdue is a 2-CD, 22-song album that I conceived of and recorded with my collaborator friend, Anna Loy (Anna K. Meade). The story is basically about Morpheus, the Dream King, and his ill-fated love of a mortal woman. It is based on classical mythology, but also draws inspiration from the “night terror” phenomenon that many people experience. It includes a complete libretto and is ready to be staged, if the right people come along to finally bring that dream to life. In the meantime it is available as a CD album only.

Your work is very varied, but what do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

I guess because I am all over the place I don’t really have a favourite. I think that many of my pen-and-ink “stipple” pieces are quite good – I look at some of them now and don’t even know how I pulled them off. My personal favourite, though, is an acrylic painting from 2004. I’m not the best painter, but I am still so thrilled with the finished product, and with the depth of symbolism going on in there. It’s called The Great Escape, and it features a character that showed up in a few paintings of mine many years back, called the Merry Prankster. He was sort of a mischievous harlequin-garbed clown character, and represented change – usually traumatic life change that you just have to laugh about because it’s just so ridiculously overwhelming. In this particular painting, he’s rising up out of a painting, so from 2-D to 3-D. He’s trying to escape his situation. But there’s a hand also rising up out of the painting, pulling him back in. It’s a female hand, and obviously represents a relationship memory or situation. He’s caught there, mid-flight, with the past literally trying to pull him back down onto the canvas. It was the last time I ever painted the Prankster, so I guess he’s still frozen there, forever caught.

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The Great Escape – Paul Ramey (acrylic)

I know there’s a second ‘Edgar Wilde’ book in the works, which I am incredibly excited for, what are your other future plans?

There are actually a second and third “Edgar Wilde” book currently in development, and that’s where my focus is. One of my most important personal achievements in the past decade has been learning how to focus on long-term projects, and to keep showing up for it. The Veil & Subdue project was my first major success with that. Edgar Wilde was the second. I believe Joni Mitchell coined the phrase “the rotating of the crops.” It means that you do some art, then eventually move to a writing phase, then some music (or whatever other passions you have), and then eventually you come back to the beginning. So it’s a cycle, and helps to nourish and inform each stage as you keep going around and around. That process really resonates with me, but I think mostly because I’m easily distracted, and “rotating crops” is a very comforting thought for a distracted person – an “easy out” for unfinished projects. No, these days I have to make sure I don’t drift too far, because I know I may never come back to finish what I started. So these days it’s all Edgar, all the time! And a little craft beer homebrewing. And a whole lot of raising my beautiful daughter, Sofia!

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

I’d like to send myself on a worldwide journey to explore and document fascinating cultures, architecture, achievement, history, and experiences (including culinary). Preferably by sailboat. Possibly an ongoing blog, with eventual books to follow (both fiction and non-). And at the end of it all, I’d like for those endeavors to sustain me so that I never have to worry about finances again.

I’d also like to commission myself to take on the inevitable film adaptation of Edgar Wilde. I have no idea how to do that, but I think I could give it a shot!

A fascinating look into your creative life, Paul, thank you for sharing your many talents with us! I like the ‘crop rotation’ theory…especially as I’m an arty writer, so I’m looking forward to a little rotation myself!

Please find out more about: Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire: www.ninemusepress.com
Zen Salvador: www.zensalvador.com
Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan: www.cdbaby.com/cd/paulramey
Graphic Design Portfolio: http://paulramey.carbonmade.com
Cemetery Photography Cards, Edgar Wilde Merchandise, etc.: www.zazzle.com/mementomorii

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Pen and ink stipple drawing – Paul Ramey

Paul’s Bio:

Paul Ramey is a writer, graphic artist, musician, and unrepentant cemetery buff. His most recent published works include his first novel, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire, a two-CD goth/rock musical album, Veil & Subdue – the Courtship of The Black Sultan, and Zen Salvador, a limited-edition book of zen-styled dog wisdom. Originally from Frankfort, Kentucky, Paul now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and child.

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Painting – Paul Ramey

Creative Feature: Flourish Buttons

I’ve always had a thing for buttons, so I’d like to introduce you to my third Creative Feature.

If you’re looking for something different and unique you can’t go wrong with Flourish Buttons and Becky Underwood’s gorgeous jewellery, I’ve got several of her pieces on my wish list! A mutual friend liked Becky’s page on Facebook a couple of years ago, and I couldn’t resist the buttons, the colours, and delicate designs. Becky operates an online store and also regularly attends craft fairs…take a look and see what catches your eye!

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Becky Underwood – Flourish Buttons

Flourish Buttons: Becky Underwood – Creative Jeweller

I love using buttons in my own craft, but what inspired you to begin making button  jewellery?

About 10 years ago, when my children were babies, I would make greetings cards once I’d settled them for the night. I used pressed flowers, embossed metal, acetate and you guessed it…buttons (not all at the same time!). I realised then that I loved buttons. Unlike most people, my mum or Nan never had a tin of buttons when I was growing up so I had had little interaction with them. I put my cards in shops and to my surprise they sold! At the time my husband was working for a recycling company and we were quite into reusing materials so I decided to make studs from old buttons, I called them ‘button ears’, these also sold well. One day I was in a wool shop in Fishguard and I discovered 50mm iridescent buttons and thought they would make fantastic brooches, these buttons are the back bone of my brooch designs. It was at the time when waterfall cardigans were very popular and they were great to close those, these also sold well. Then I was addicted, I loved buttons and I loved selling so I began to put together a range. I had to work out how I could hang buttons as the work differently from beads.

How have your designs developed as your business has grown?

Well, initially I had to look at glues and findings, what would work and unfortunately we had a few disasters to start with, brooches that didn’t stay stuck, buttons not hanging well, wire breaking. So I had to really experiment and test, find reliable suppliers of good quality products. This continues to be an ongoing mission. My range is pretty big now, I have taken on trends and customers suggestions and tried to deliver on these. I have realised that simple designs work best.

Do you have favourite buttons, or materials, or colours to work with?

I love to use coconut and shell, they are lightweight and you can get some beautiful coconut buttons that have been lacquered with designs and prints, the shell buttons can be lazered with designs and dip dyed to create a 2 tone effect.

I love bright colours, turquoise, fuchsia, burnt orange but I also like using vintage style buttons and I love to mix the two. I am the same as most girls and like floral, heart and animal designs.

What is your best seller, and do you have a favourite piece yourself?

I have a few bestsellers, dangly earrings always sell well, I think that is common for most jewellers. The best selling layered brooch is:

and from the single brooches:

and the pendants:

What I find interesting is how differently things sell in different shops and so it can be hard making recommendations.

I like the Tiffany brooch and have that on my jacket, I also own a Swallow necklace, Coco Rose brooch, Pink Bird necklace. I would own many, many pairs of earrings but my ears will only allow gold and I am not keen on gold jewellery. My favourite item at the moment is:

What are your future plans with your work?

Expand!!!  I have a part time employee, mainly covering my maternity. I am applying for a second Jobs Growth Wales employee, this a scheme that is entirely funded, for a placement of 25 hours per week, fingers crossed that will come through. I have attended several trade shows and I hope to do a lot more of these when my 5 month old baby is older. To keep enjoying what I do but still keep the balance of work and family (hopefully I do that now!)

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

Ooooh…I love stained glass and I love fabric but have not had the time to explore them. I think it would either be a very elaborate ball gown with a fantastic petticoat or a small three walled house made of  stained glass, chunky slabs of glass in a variety of bright colours, especially cobalt blue!

You can view and purchase on our website at www.flourishbuttons.com or follow the links to Like Flourish Buttons on Facebook and Follow on Twitter.

Flourish Buttons

Established in 2008, Flourish designs and hand makes unique and contemporary jewellery using stunning buttons and the finest silver plated findings. Flourish is a small company based in a beautiful part of West Wales in a little town called Aberystwyth.

A high proportion of our buttons are sourced and even made in the UK, keeping our carbon footprint low and supporting our very important UK based button manufacturers We try to keep our conscience so we recycle as many waste products as possible and use jewellery boxes made from recycled card and on occasion a second hand button may be found in a Flourish bracelet as I like to re use beautiful vintage buttons.

Our style ranges from soft feminine qualities and influences from the past to bright colours with big statements. Many of our buttons are made from lightweight materials such as coconut or shell, making our jewellery effortless to wear.

Creative Feature: Amanda Makepeace – Artist

Two weeks ago I whetted your creative appetite with my first Creative Feature – here’s my next amazing artist.

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Fly Fast – Amanda Makepeace

I first discovered Amanda Makepeace when digital art was something new to me, and my own attempts at digital art meant playing with pixels on Photoshop Elements! Amanda blew me away with her visions of space and science fiction landscapes. It’s been a pleasure to watch her work grow and she never fails to impress me. I have purchased Amanda’s work and been given permission to use her ‘Dragon’s Egg’ picture with my flash fiction story ‘Delicate Strength’. She’s an amazing Photographer with a regular monthly spot on The Shutterworks and she also blogs regularly at Téssera.

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Amanda Makepeace – Artist

Amanda Makepeace – Digital and Traditional Artist

What inspires you?

If I’m honest, what doesn’t inspire me may be the better question. As a child I spent most of my time playing outside, wandering in the woods, creating imaginary worlds to play in with my friends and sometimes alone with my toys. My favorite movies from age 6 to 12 were The Black Stallion, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Star Wars and Alien. Nature, Magic, Fantasy and Science Fiction (with a dash of horror) can all be seen in my art from the last decade. Sometimes, things from every day life cast in a certain light will inspire me, sparking an idea that grows and spreads like frost on a window. My imagination does the job of inserting the magic.

Is your art planned or spontaneous? Can digital art be as spontaneous as other mediums, or does it require more planning?

I tend to believe nearly all art is planned. Ideas are spontaneous, but choosing colors, placement of figures, objects – a lot of thought goes into that aspect of art creation. This is especially true with narrative art, where one is trying to also tell a story. Even a still life is planned, whether it’s digital or traditional.

I put a lot of thought into my paintings. I will work on a sketch for a week, making sure I have a scene balanced before I begin painting. My ideas also tend to evolve. There can be many changes from that first spontaneous idea, to the sketches, and finally the painting stage.

On Distant Moons Amanda Makepeace

On Distant Moons – one the first pieces that brought Amanda to my attention.

I know you work with many different mediums. Do you have a favourite medium, or favourite colours, or favourite techniques?

Once upon a time, I would have said watercolors were my favorite. In 2011 I began having some problem with my hands. I suffer from an autoimmune illness, an arthritis that attacks my joints began interfering with my ability to paint in traditional mediums. I’m not sure now what made me try digital painting. It might have been curiosity, but whatever it was, it turned out to be a blessing. Painting with a Wacom tablet is painless and it supercharged my creativity. Even if I could, I don’t think I’d give it up!

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Fly Fast – Detail…those eyes…

What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

This is a difficult question! I tend to fall in love with everything I paint, but there’s one that continues to standout. Fly Fast was painted last year and it still makes my heart smile. The full title is: Fly fast my friend. Go now. Do not wait for me.

It’s the story of a young woman sending her messenger owl off, with scores of other owls, as their village is attacked by a dragon. In the owl’s eyes you can see a reflection of the dragon. I think this painting will be a favorite for many years to come.

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The Elder – Jackalope

I’ve loved your latest embellishments on your digital prints, what are your future plans with your art?

Keep learning. I am truly still in my infancy when it comes to digital painting and illustration. One of my goals for the latter half of this year is to focus on improving my human anatomy skills!

FSF Delicate The Dragon's Egg by Amanda Makepeace

Dragon’s Egg

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

I would love to see some of my paintings become sculptures. A bronze sculpture of the ravens from my painting Stone of Knowing, and the magic stone, for my backyard would be amazing!

You can find and purchase Amanda’s art on her website amandamakepeace.com and in her Etsy Shop. Take a look at her Facebook page to keep up to date.

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Three pendants which delighted myself and my daughter at Christmas!

Amanda’s Bio:

I’ve always had an active imagination and a love of nature and the fantastic. My creative journey began in childhood, thinking up imaginary worlds in the suburbs of Maryland. Since those formative years I’ve lived in the southern burbs, moved abroad to London, England (later the Dorset coast), and now call rural Georgia home.

I’m continually inspired by nature, myth and fantasy–emphasis on nature. I love the outdoors and I have a strange (and to some infuriating) bond with animals. I’m also book lover and comic reader. I may also be mildly obsessed with all things Marvel. When I’m not creating you might find me wandering the woods or fields, taking photographs of very tiny wildflowers.

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Stone of Knowing – Amanda Makepeace

Creative Feature: Angie Richmond – Artist

I am a creative.

First and foremost, I write. I consider my writing art and have always enjoyed indulging in many other arts and crafts.

My daughter and I are soon to announce a creative venture of our own, but leading up to that I wanted to share some of my favourite Artists and Creatives. Many of them have their wares available to purchase and it’s a pleasure to be able to promote their work.

IMG_3306 copyMy first feature is Angie Richmond, a Vancouver based artist who creates one-of-a-kind mixed media collage, abstract watercolour and skyline doodle art. I have known and admired her for several years. Last Christmas I commissioned an individual piece from Angie and was incredibly happy with the beautiful result!
And look out for Angie’s special offer to readers…

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Angie Richmond – Artist

Angie Richmond – Artist

What inspires you? 

I really struggled with this question, which surprised me. When it comes to my art I find myself working at an intuitive level that doesn’t require a lot of thought. Which means that although I’m continually being inspired by things around me, I’m not always conscious of it.

But I can tell you that when I first started this journey there was one artist who did inspire me, Kelly Rae Roberts. Her work lead me to explore the world of mixed media collage. When I read her book Taking Flight I realized that everything I had been doing up until then wasn’t just fooling around. It was creating art. It inspired me to own the title Artist and take what I had been doing seriously. So I guess I owe her a lot. Maybe one day I’ll meet her and thank her in person.

Is your art planned or spontaneous? 

Most of the time it’s a combination of both. I usually start with an idea but rarely do I stick to it exactly. I find that my best work is often the pieces that were completely unplanned. Even when I’m working with commissioned pieces there is still an element of spontaneity that I love.

Angie Richmond Art Words Weave

My commission ‘Words of the Heart’

How do you like to work – do you have a favourite medium, or colours, or techniques? 

As a mixed media collage artist, paper and acrylic paint are mediums that I find myself continually incorporating into my art. I like paper with lots of words, like old dictionary pages or even sheet music. The older the better. Speaking of old, I also love using vintage dress patterns and postage stamps.

I tend to use a lot of turquoise. Blue is my favourite colour so even though I might make a conscious decision to try other colours, somehow blue always creeps in. Which I’m totally okay with.

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What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece? 

Ha! This question made me laugh because upon reflecting I realized that I’ve said ‘This is my favourite piece’ like a hundred times! So I guess I can’t pick one. Each of them are special.

I’ve watched your art diversify over the years – what are your future plans? 

Good question. To be honest I’m not entirely sure. I’ve been doing some serious contemplation on venturing into the world of fiber art. I have a sewing machine set up now and I’m learning how to embroider. I’d also love to try pottery some day.

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Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?

Hmmm, let me see. I suppose I’d commission a piece of jewellery. Either a ring or a necklace. Something vintage looking with loads of meaning.

***   Angie is also being especially generous and is giving a fantastic special offer to all you lovely readers! Just use the code LISAFANS in Angie’s Etsy Shop for 50% off!   ***

You can find Angie at angierichmond.com and at her Etsy shop. Follow her at @write_me_happy. Take a look and get inspired!

Thanks Angie, a lovely insight into your art!

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New Release! Bound by Time by A.D. Trosper

Bound by Time is a YA paranormal romance by A.D. Trosper, the bestselling author of the epic fantasy series,

Dragon’s Call. Once again, I have to thank Blue Harvest Creative for everything they do and for the incredibly beautiful book they have designed. From cover to cover, they outdid themselves.

Can he save her this time or are they bound to be separated for eternity…

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Isobel Moore is looking forward to spending her summer break alone while her parents are overseas. Until she returns from college to find her home isn’t quite the welcoming place it used to be. The stained glass window her parents installed is more than just a beautiful piece of history; something sinister is sealed within the colored glass.

When Isobel meets her new neighbor, Damien DeLuca, she discovers the gorgeous and mysterious stranger has plenty of his own secrets. Including the knowledge of what’s happening in her home.

As her world spins out of control, she unravels a past that not only tests her limits, but also everything she thought she knew. The darkness within the window yearns to be free and it will do anything to escape—including killing Isobel.

Click HERE for a quick preview of the front and back covers and peek at the interior

BBT first page

Buy now in either E-BOOK or PAPERBACK or visit the AUTHOR PAGE

About A.D. Trosper

Writer, mother, ruler of the world inside her head.

A.D. Trosper is the author of the bestselling, award winning Dragon’s Call series. The first and second books are BeFunky_Author pic12.jpgalready out under the titles Embers at Galdrilene and Tears of War. She has also written a children’s book and has three books planned for release in 2014. A.D. enjoys writing in a variety of genres including epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance.

An avid lover of animals, she has rescued and rehabbed horses, goats, dogs and cats. When not writing, she spends time with her family and pets. She is convinced chocolate is a necessary food group and magic is real (not always the way we think it is, but real nonetheless).

You can connect with her at her

Blog

or on

Facebook

Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss: New Release

If you loved ‘The Seal IslandTrilogy by Sophie Moss then you’re in for a treat with her brand new book in The Heron Island series.

*Note: If you haven’t got lost within the selkie myths and legends…go buy The Seal Island Trilogy and rectify your omission…fast…you’ll thank me for it!

Today sees the release of ‘Wind Chime Café’.

Wind Chime Cover_5

Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss
Adult Contemporary Romance

When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street café on Heron Island, she thinks she’s finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the café into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents’ property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him “get his head straight.” The last thing Will expects is to fall in love…with his hometown and with Annie. But Will’s life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie’s love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?

Available on Kindle and in Print as of 7th Feb 2014.
Find the book on Goodreads.

Sophie is also running a giveaway with $50 Amazon Gift Card and Three Signed Paperbacks (ebooks if winners live outside US & Canada) on Rafflecopter…please enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was lucky enough to be given an ARC copy of ‘Wind Chime Café’ which I devoured as soon as I could! This is my review:

‘A beautiful story which hooked me immediately with an opening that pulled on my heartstrings.
We begin with Annie, a single mother, arriving on Heron Island searching for a new beginning with her daughter. The author’s beautiful words weave an intricate and believable relationship between mother and child, and hint at a damaged past as they try to renovate a local café.
Then we meet Will, a rough and ready Navy SEAL, battling his own demons.
Can Heron Island provide safety and more?
The author has a way with words that draws you deep into life on the island and connects you with her characters. Every character is well drawn and fully developed to the point that you become part of them and their dreams. Gorgeous detail and imagery bring Heron Island to life setting you right within the story, making you twirl like a butterfly as the island infuses your senses. Taste the ocean, see the colours and inhale the aroma of sweet cinnamon rolls. You’ll hear crashing waves and the story will touch you, leaving you wanting more…’Sophie Moss Bio Pic New

Sophie Moss is an award-winning author of four full-length romance novels. Known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings, her books have appeared twice in USA Today. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She currently lives in San Diego, California, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s walking the beach, testing out a new dessert recipe, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemosswrites@gmail.com or visit her website at sophiemossauthor.com

Connect with Sophie:

Website: http://www.sophiemossauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophieMossAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMossWrites
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sophiemoss/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5318290.Sophie_Moss

Oceanswept Chronicles: Lara Hays

Swashbuckling pirates and romance on the high seas…

I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering ‘Oceanswept’ by Lara Hays…I’m just a short way in and I’m hooked, so it’s lovely to have the opportunity to find out more about the author behind the book, and get some fascinating insights into pirate life!

‘Oceanswept’  and its companion short story ‘Intruder in the Brig’ is the first book in the ‘Oceanswept Chronicles’ followed by the recently released ‘Undertow’ and its companion ‘Stowaway’. (Both short stories also available to buy.)

How long have you been writing, and when did you begin to realise your dream of becoming an author?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. I still have the first story I ever wrote: a crayon-written story about two dinosaurs in love separated by a volcano. It was even a chapter book. I was probably about six when I wrote it. I wrote constantly throughout my life, starting many unfinished novels. I had short stories and poetry published as a teen. Looking back on my life, I’ve realized that even if I wasn’t writing, I was always storytelling. I was very involved in theatre, journalism, and even as a child the way I played was always about telling stories.
I currently work as a copywriter for an international wellness company. I feel so blessed to write for a living and get paid salary with benefits. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, though. Oceanswept was the first novel I ever completed. I finished it in 2007 and buried it away but I couldn’t forget it and after five years, I decided to dust it off and publish it.

‘Oceanswept Chronicles’ follow pirates, and romance, and life on the high seas, can you tell us what inspired you to dip into this genre?
When I wrote Oceanswept in 2007, I began watching the market and trying to play into what the industry was doing. 2007 was all about paranormal romances—especially vampires. I toyed with the idea of jumping on the bandwagon, but ultimately decided I should write something I believed in passionately rather than “play the market.”
There is something self-indulgent about this story for me. I truly went about writing a book I would love to read. I love the young adult genre, I love history, I love the ocean and sailing (thanks to a few amazing historical novels like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi), and I love romance and adventure.
But interestingly enough, I think the elements that drew readers to vampire romances are all here: star-crossed lovers, a dangerous hero, a bold heroine, mortal peril, and redemption and hope for a better future.

Have you enjoyed researching 18th century life on the ocean, could you have coped with life in those days?
I love history and so book research is something I love to do. I’ve had a few hiccups though. I initially intended to set the story about 30 years earlier (1690s) than its current time frame of about 1720, but had difficulty with research materials. By moving the setting back a few decades, I had a lot more resources.
Researching pirates has its own challenges. Aside from a few journals of the time period, there aren’t a lot of reliable first-hand accounts of life among pirates. Our current stereotypes come from romanticized literature that concocted pirate jargon, attitudes, and practices that probably did not exist. Walking the plank probably never happened and pirates likely didn’t say “shiver me timers.” Our modern view of them is still very romantic when in reality they should probably be compared to terrorists and inner city gangs.
Coping with life in the 1720s…I wouldn’t deal well with the lack of wifi.  I would struggle with the role of women in society. Hygiene as well. All this historical love stories are very romantic as long as we don’t think too much about their personal hygiene. I’ve gone to a few book clubs that have read Oceanswept and women always bring up menstruation, which I find an odd thing to fixate on but apparently it’s universal. In the books, Tessa spends months at a time on board ships. People want to know how she dealt with her period. Apparently that is a concern for us modern women used to our modern conveniences, but for Tessa, it was a part of her life as mundane as keeping her fingernails clean.

What can we look forward to after ‘Undertow?
I have two books in the works right now. One is an adult fiction piece that follows the emotional journey of two women on different spectrums of the adoption world and the unconditional love for a child that unites them. As an adoptive mother, this book is very personal to me and my own experiences with infertility and adoption have colored the tale.
I am currently working on a book called The Immortality Project about a teen boy who befriends a dying teenager and commits himself to finding a cure. After I write the first draft, I am involving another author. I think it will be fun to work with someone else and will free up my time to get started on…
The final book in the Oceanswept Trilogy. I have it fully outlined…I need to get some other things off my plate so I can jump in! I miss my characters already and I’m excited to get back to them.
And you can expect more Oceanswept Chronicles along the way.

Share one positive thing that writing does for you.
Writing is therapy. It helps me examine my own life and my own emotions while creating deeper empathy for others. Writing helps me process the emotions behind my infertility struggles and adoptions, my mother’s unexpected death, or even just a bad day at work or an argument at home. It’s definitely therapeutic—and cheaper!

Oceanswept: amazon.co.uk     amazon.com
Undertow: amazon.co.uk     amazon.com
Intruder in the Brig: amazon.co.uk     amazon.com
Stowaway: amazon.co.uk     amazon.com

Oceanswept:
The sway of playful palm trees and never-ending sunshine seem like a fantasy compared to the smog and filth of 18th century London. Thrilled for a new life in the exotic West Indies, privileged seventeen-year-old Tessa Monroe eagerly embraces her father’s reassignment to the fledgling Caribbean colony of St. Kitts where she can stake her claim as an up-and-coming socialite. 
But that dream unravels when a hurricane downs their ship on the passage from England, leaving Tessa as the sole survivor. Rescued by a passing ship, Tessa’s grief soon turns to terror as she realizes she isn’t a passenger—she’s a captive. 
With a future of slavery in the offing, Tessa joins forces with Nicholas Holladay, a charismatic sailor ready to break free from a life of piracy. Mutiny is in the air. Tessa and Nicholas will either win their freedom or earn a spot at the gallows.

Find more information about Lara Hays at larahays.com
and follow on Facebook facebook.com/LaraHaysAuthor

Darrion: Missy Ames

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Missy, via my writing community, for a while now, and her writing is as expressive and inspiring as she is herself.
Her first novel ‘Minstrel’ is due for release on November 5th, though it is available for pre-order right now.
Today she releases ‘Darrion’, a short story to whet your appetite for ‘Minstrel’.

I asked Missy about the books and her writing:

How long have you been writing, and when did you begin to realise your dream of becoming an author? 

I started writing at 8 years old, creating stories on pieces of typing paper that soon got lost. My parents wizened up fast and bought me a spiral notebook to save the stories. I wrote my first novel when I was 12 years old. I didn’t write it for possible publication until someone mentioned that I could actually make money doing it. Then I got obsessed, as a 12-year-old would, though my writing style was still very juvenile and I had a long way to go. Since then, I’ve dreamed of one day having novels in print for people to read.

You’ve written a full length novel ‘Minstrel’ due for release in November; can you tell us a bit about ‘Darrion’ and why it precedes your debut novel?

Darrion actually takes place after Minstrel, but before the next novel, which is my current work in progress. I had intended to publish a short story after Minstrel’s release, but I’ve been working with a wonderful project called The Anthology Club, which is still in closed beta. In this project, I can publish short stories for their books but retain my rights. One of the other senior members suggested a theme, to which this story fit in perfectly. His project is wrapping up soon, and the story is timed perfectly to precede Minstrel’s release.

These two stories are set in medieval times, is that a period of history you enjoy researching? 

I’ve been fascinated with medieval times since I was a child. When I was a teenager, it was a geeky obsession that drove my mother crazy. I actually listened to cassettes of Irish drinking songs while other teens listened to Metallica. I even gathered rocks in my dad’s 2-acre horse field to build a castle, but got distracted after earning the money to buy the cement. (I wonder what dad ever did with that cement.) As I matured, my obsession waned but the interest and knowledge I collected is still there.

What can we look forward to after ‘Minstrel’? 

The Tir Athair series chronicles the struggles between two kingdoms, through the viewpoints of various characters. Each story deals with a separate set of characters in their own settings, with their own struggles, romances, and relationships. Minstrel is the very start of this chronicle, detailing the start of the civil war that splits the two kingdoms, through the eyes of the court minstrel. The next novel, Vassal, occurs about 40-50 years after the kingdom splits, when the people still deal with the corrupt monarchy that causes the split. It tells the story of the next shift of power, through the eyes of a noblewoman who has inherited her father’s fief in the absence of any male heirs.

Share one positive thing that writing does for you.

It’s one of my outlets. I have a very vivid imagination and creative drive that cannot be squashed. I release it through art and writing, and those endeavors actually interchange depending on my inspiration at the time. I also have the benefit of a very supportive family, which is very proud of my endeavors, though they may not share the interest. That support just drives it further.

* * *

The first time Darrion struck her, Lana loaded her wagon and left Cynegil. Two-year-olds should not hit like that. She draped the windows of her cottage with dense cloth and worked by a single candle. If she timed her flight well, she could pass through the market during changing of the guard. In another era, under another king’s reign, Lana would have rejoiced that Darrion had inherited his father’s gift. Now, if Lana does not present her son to the king, she could lose her head.
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Arriving in the royal city of Cynegil just after the good kings death, Liam and his traveling troupe face arrest for entertaining during a time of mourning. The new king offers them a choice: play for the court as he demands, or be punished for the crime. The troupe entertains within the hall, and Liam witnesses the dissension between the king and his twin brother, Shamus. When Shamus enlists Liam to record the kingdoms history from his own viewpoint, the king is suspicious of his brothers wiles. Liam becomes involved with Maira, the redheaded washerwoman who leads three lives, and Tristan, the royal soldier with deadly secret to keep and a skill for causing unfortunate accidents. As the kingdom staggers beneath drought and famine, Liam and Shamus must flee Cynegil with prices on their heads.

Amazon.com

Crossing genres, Marissa Ames writes fantasy fiction and blogs for multiple venues, including a national poultry magazine. Her debut novel, Minstrel, begins the medieval-based fantasy series of Tir Athair. She is currently working on Vassal, the second novel in the Tir Athair series, and collaborates with many worthy writers on diverse anthologies. Marissa has written stories since age 8, instilling her lifelong fascination with medieval history into her work. In her real life, she manages a day job, a husband and two teenage children, and an entire urban farm just a mile south of downtown Reno, Nevada, in the United States. 
You can follow her blog at http://www.marissaames.com